Community-Driven Language Revitalization Efforts in North America: An Analysis of the Role of Linguists

Caroline Ammon Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Faculty Sponsor(s): Susan Hyatt Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Within this paper, I focus upon the involvement of linguists in North American native and indigenous language revitalization efforts and analyze three major criticisms that linguists have faced in their involvement with this growing field: assumed ownership over that which they study, the separation of language and culture, and what role may be an appropriate fit for linguists within the field of language revitalization. I also take an inside look at the Myaamia Center Project, a language revitalization effort that is community-driven based upon my interview with Daryl Balwin, a Miami tribal community member and director of the project. I argue that language revitalization efforts must be driven from within the community rather than by linguists as the community’s commitment and readiness are integral to the success of such an effort. However, I assert that linguists do have an important role in language revitalization, more specifically in efforts that are archive-based and require an in-depth knowledge of language structure. This role must be mediated, however, in a way that respects the interest of the community over academic research and achievement.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

11:15 AM
Jordan Hall 238